Decent Photo Printing Lab - Online?

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343
Name
Andy
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#1
I was just wondering if you guys can recommend somewhere which would print high quality photos...
Ideally the kind of quality you would use for a wedding or prints to sell.

I don't plan on selling prints yet, however I've got some shots of my son which i really love and some other images I would like to print and mount just for my own collection but would like a high quality result.

Can anyone recommend somewhere online who can do this?

I know some of the professional home printers are upwards of £1000 and print with around 12-15 different ink cartridges for excellent colour representation.. A lot of printers local to me only use CMYK and i'm concerned if i use these the colours might look a little flat.
 
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3,734
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droj
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#2
Most labs accept image file uploads and produce high quality photo prints, some at competitive prices. These are prints on traditional photo paper. A more expensive lab option that may be more light-fast for display, they often call 'art' prints and are on inkjet media using pigment inks.

Key, though, is your file preparation before uploading to lab, or indeed sending to a home desktop printer - you have to be on top of the game if you want the prints to accord with what your screen showed. Though some people get lucky, many don't (prints too dark, etc). There are protocols that you can learn to help get it right.

To my mind home printing is the least environmental option, though this seems to be rarely considered or mentioned.
 
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343
Name
Andy
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#3
Any pointers in regards to calibrating your screen for print? I know you can get ICC Profiles and i've seen a very nice little tool which will attach to your screen and generates an ICC Profile for your screen to accuratley calibrate, but not really found any other decent information online on howto calibrate this.
 
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1,873
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Chris
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#5
Any pointers in regards to calibrating your screen for print? I know you can get ICC Profiles and i've seen a very nice little tool which will attach to your screen and generates an ICC Profile for your screen to accuratley calibrate, but not really found any other decent information online on howto calibrate this.
Have a look here
https://www.datacolor.com/photography-design/solutions/display-calibration/

This is only one , there are others which do the same job
 
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12,084
Name
Jim
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#6
Here is a Fuji test image, it's a 7x5, you can download this here https://i.imgur.com/h5O2knR.jpg look at it on your monitor, send it off to any online print lab and see if the print you receive back is the same as what is on your screen.
Hope this helps.

 
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3,734
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droj
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#7
Here is a Fuji test image, it's a 7x5
Some labs will send you a free print of one of these that you can use to register your screen to ...

Before anything, the first thing to address is screen brightness. Displays straight from the shop are commonly set to 100% brightness. This is way too bright for print matching. A sensible starting point is to adjust it to about 50%. The monitor should have an on-screen display for such adjustments.

Then you can adjust rgb values (balance).

http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/ (this is a good one).
http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/why-are-my-prints-too-dark/
http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/monitor-calibration.htm
 
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3,734
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droj
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#8
The above is the basics. To get into the finer detail, you might want to tailor your print output to specific papers, since they can render differently. This is focussed more on tonal values, and is where colour profiles can be used for 'soft-proofing', a simulation exercise done in software where you adjust your tones to suit the paper. But most labs probably want files in sRGB, so the paper profile isn't necessarily embedded (it's confusing because for some purposes the profile IS embedded, but follow the lab's instruction).
 
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12,084
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Jim
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#9
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1,838
Name
Brian
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#11
Any pointers in regards to calibrating your screen for print? I know you can get ICC Profiles and i've seen a very nice little tool which will attach to your screen and generates an ICC Profile for your screen to accuratley calibrate, but not really found any other decent information online on howto calibrate this.
I calibrate my screen in the normal way with a "ColorMunki" Display analyser.
Some print companies (e.g. DSCL) provide profiles that you can download and attach to your image files.
I have recently started using SIM Labs, who simply ask the image files are submitted in sRGB colour space, and their results are excellent.
 
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21,965
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#12
I used DSCL a lot for my prints, including all my degree work. The have profiles for their printers you can use within Lightroom etc.
I used a Datacolor Spyder to calibrate my monitor.

Edit: Should add that Trade Canvas Prints have a very good service for Canvas's etc
 
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3,734
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droj
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#13
Some print companies (e.g. DSCL) provide profiles that you can download and attach to your image files.
In the case of dscl C-types at least, they ask that you submit in sRGB. Their profiles for different papers are for soft-proofing. You don't embed them.
 
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1,838
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Brian
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#14
I used DSCL a lot for my prints, including all my degree work. The have profiles for their printers you can use within Lightroom etc.
I used a Datacolor Spyder to calibrate my monitor.

Edit: Should add that Trade Canvas Prints have a very good service for Canvas's etc
How long ago did you use DSCL?
I've had good service from them in the past, but the problems that people are experiencing appear to have happened over the past few weeks.
 
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1,838
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Brian
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#15
In the case of dscl C-types at least, they ask that you submit in sRGB. Their profiles for different papers are for soft-proofing. You don't embed them.
That must be another DSCL thing that's changed then.
When I used them they provided Fuji ICC profiles that you down loaded and converted your files to before submitting them.
SIM Lab just ask for sRGB files with no other profile, which I was a little puzzled by, since I was used to converting the profile for DSCL, but the SIM Lab C-type prints are noticeably better than the DSCL ones.
As for not converting the profile, DSCL had detailed instructions on how to convert the file profiles using Lightroom or Photoshop.
Maybe this is the source of some of the problems that people are experiencing with DSCL.
 
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3,734
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droj
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#16
DSCL have changed the wording on their website since I last looked and it now says -

"We have profiles for all our products but only release the C-Type paper profiles, these can be found below. For any other print surface or product please supply sRGB file and we will profile within the lab.

For C-Type firstly download your desired paper profile from the options below and follow the instructions on installing profiles. Once you have your profiles installed within Photoshop you can navigate to Edit > Convert to Profile. A window will pop up which contains a dropdown menu titled 'Destination Space'. Click on the dropdown menu and find the desired profile from the list. If you are using Lightroom the option for embedding a paper profile is available when you are ready to save you project and navigate to 'File > Export' "

 
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21,965
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#17
How long ago did you use DSCL?
I've had good service from them in the past, but the problems that people are experiencing appear to have happened over the past few weeks.
last time a couple of months ago, but I'e used them a lot over he last 6-7 years.
 
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